How to Add to a Living Trust

Most trusts allow you to add property to the trust by following a few simple steps. You can add any kind of property, including bank accounts, investment and retirement accounts, personal property and real property.

Review your trust document to see if there is a prohibition against amending or adding to the trust. If the trust document prohibits additions to the trust, then you cannot add property, but if there is no prohibition, then you can add property.

Remove the current trust schedule that is attached to your trust document. A trust schedule is just a list of the property that is included in the trust.

Prepare a new trust schedule that lists the property you want to add to the trust. For example, if you want to add a new investment account to the trust, you will list that investment account information on the trust schedule.

Attach the new trust schedule to the trust document.

If necessary, draft a new trust document or an amendment to the trust document that lists a beneficiary of the new property you are adding to the trust. If your trust leaves all property to one or more beneficiaries, this step is unnecessary, but if your trust document lists specific property to specific beneficiaries, then you will need to add a beneficiary designation for the new property.

Prepare the documents of conveyance. For most personal property you probably don't need any documents of conveyance, but for real property you will need a deed that conveys title to the trustee of the trust. For bank accounts and investment accounts, you probably need to contact the account holder to add the trustee's name on the title of the account.

If you are adding real estate, have the documents of conveyance (i.e., the deed) recorded in the county recorder's office of the county where the property is located.

Warnings

  • If you have an irrevocable trust, remember that anything you add to the trust is no longer your property, but instead is the property of the trust. If you ever want to sell that property for yourself, you will have to get permission from the trustee and all of the beneficiaries, so be sure you want to part with exclusive control of the property before you add it to an irrevocable trust.

Tips

  • Any time you experience a major life change, such as a new child, purchase of a new piece of valuable property, or investment in a new account, you should consider amending and adding to your trust document. Most of the time, this is easy to do and is well worth the small amount of time spent doing it.

References

  • Nolo's Make Your Own Living Trust; attorney Denis Clifford; 2009

About the Author

The Constitution Guru has worked as a writer and editor for "BYU Law Review" and "BYU Journal of Public Law." He is an experienced attorney with a law degree and a B.A. degree in history with an emphasis on U.S. Constitutional history, both earned at Brigham Young University.